Ohio’s jobs report creates worry for some

Since the summer, the number of unemployed Ohioans climbed and the percentage in the labor force fell, causing worry for some economists.

The state’s December job report showed the unemployment rate remained at 4.2% and the labor participation rate dipped from 61.3% to 61.2%. By contrast, the national jobless rate fell to 3.5% while the participation rate climbed to 62.3%.

“Over the course of 2022, Ohio’s job market started strong and peaked in the summer with an unemployment rate below 4% and a labor force participation rate of 62.5%,” said Rea S. Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center and vice president of policy at The Buckeye Institute. “Since then, the household survey has reported a waning job market, with the unemployment rate climbing and a continued decline in the number of Ohioans looking for work.”

Hederman called that worrying, despite a jobs report that showed the state’s private sector added 80,000 jobs in 2022.

The payroll survey showed the state added 3,100 private sector jobs in December but revisions showed a decrease in 2,100 jobs in November.

“All the news is not bad. If Ohio’s job market grows as it did in 2022, then Ohio will erase this prepandemic shortfall of 60,000 jobs in 2023,” Hederman said. “To strengthen the job market, Ohio policymakers should use the upcoming budget as an opportunity to implement meaningful tax reform that would encourage businesses to invest and attract families and workers to the Buckeye State. Education reforms in K-12 and higher education are also needed to meet the needs of modern manufacturers and tech companies.”

At the same time, a recently released report from WalletHub, a personal finance website, ranked Ohio as one of the worst states where unemployment claims are decreasing the most.

Only Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, California, Rhode Island and Kentucky ranked worse than the Buckeye State.

Also, every state showed claims last week lower than the same week in 2019, except for eight states, including Ohio.

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